Friday, May 18, 2007

A reprieve for Shambo

Our posting below details the plea for clemency in the case of a 6 year old cross bred bull(ock) known as Shambo, and living in a Hindu monastical setting in SW Wales.

On re-test, this animal gave a positive reading after an Inconclusive result to a routine Tb test. Shock, horror from the Hindu community, who immediately walled him up in straw lined 'temple' and protested. Loudly. His 'religion' (can a bull(ock) have a religion?) means that he is regarded as 'sacred', and cannot be killed. We note that it did not prevent the removal of certain parts of his anatomy, to prevent him 'giving life' - parts which will be presumably reunited with the rest of him on his demise? - but let that pass.

Yesterday, Shambo's website posted the following message to his many supporters;

The National Assembly of Wales has deferred its original intention to slaughter Shambo, the sacred bull at the Skanda Vale Temple.

The authorities were going to move to slaughter next week but they have since delayed this action. They have said that they are still carefully considering what they concede to be a sensitive and unusual case. The Temple hopes that this consideration will lead to a change of policy and change of practice.

Responding to the decision by the Assembly, Swami Suryananda of the Skanda Vale Temple, said: “We are encouraged by the response of the authorities to defer their decision on the future of Shambo. To consider killing as a solution is not an option and we would hope the threat of slaughter could be removed so that we can establish constructive dialogue with the Assembly to find a practical solution that upholds the highest values of the Hindu faith but also meets the health and safety requirements.

Ishwer Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain added, "The campaign to save Shambo has received considerable support from people of different faiths in the UK and, around the world. It is important that we continue to request the Welsh Assembly to remove the slaughter notice that is hanging over Shambo. In the meantime the temple we will continue to take the necessary bio-security measures to protect animals and humans from harm.”

CB Patel, Chair of the Patrons Council of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: “There is still a lot of concern among the community, but the Assembly’s decision to respond sensitively to this unusual case is heartening. We would suggest other diagnostic tests are conducted to ascertain if infection is actually present and, if so, identify the area infected and treat accordingly with medication.”

President of the National Council of Hindu Temples, Sudarshan Bhatia, commented: "The deferral of the decision to slaughter Shambo could mean that the Welsh Assembly is considering various options. We hope that the sensitiveness of the issue and the needs of the different communities can be carefully considered."

Other UK Hindu organisations that have given their support to Skanda Vales’ campaign include the Hindu Council of Birmingham, Hindu Council of Brent, Hindu Council of Harrow, Hindu Council of the North, Leicester Festival Hindu Council, Hindu Council UK and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK.

Much as we sympathise with the people who run the Hindu community in Wales, we feel that the 'temporary reprieve' of this animal opens an even larger can of worms for the as yet unformed, Welsh Assembly. The fact that no one will take reponsibility for the consequences of a positive Tb test on Shambo, is fluff. Either we (as in the UK including its devolved parts) have a screening policy for Tb which complies with international directives and in which we believe - or we do not. No 'decision' needs to be made, or at least if the reactor was an Anglo Saxon Welsh black steer of Methodist persuasion, it would not. Last year, Defra figures showed that Wales slaughtered almost 6000 cattle in response to a positive Tb test; we suspect most were 'sacred' and induced 'sensitive and unusual' emotions in their shell shocked owners.

If the owners of Shambo are able to isolate him and 'screen' for Tb using other methods than those available to the rest of us, then should the same procedure be made available (to those who request it) in the rest of Wales - or the wider UK for that matter?

We suspect that placing this one in the 'too difficult' file, may in the longer term cost the Welsh Assembly dearly.


Anonymous said...

Yeeeea right,if we get another I.R. we shall take the same stance as Shambo,s owners and not let the DEFRA vets any where near it or them as the case maybe!!! What a mockery and shambles this whole TB thing is. You,v got the so called appointed 'Guru'for the badgers in the name of Trevor Lawson, who incidentlly wrote an artical in the Western Morning News yesterday slating off people that really do care and know about both badgers and cattle, more so than this slease bag will ever think he knows. So please Mr Trevor Lawson, get things right before you actually put it to print.
Reality Mr Lawson--
Take for example-- closed farm, this means Mr Trevor Lawson, that NO new stock is ever brought onto the farm, all home bred. Cows get T.B. Cows slaughterd, farm tested again, cows go clear. Cows go out into fields,near badger sets and badgers that have died in fields or are ill with TB. Cows get TB again, and so it goes on. Mr Lawson, please can you explain to us all why you do not want to see this disease cleared up.---Perhaps its because you really just dont care. Answer if you can.

Matthew said...

You are not alone Anon 6.42.
Farmers commenting on other sites are getting ready to register cattle sheds as 'temples'. As we said, this may cause as many problems as the Welsh think they may have 'solved'.

It dawned on one of more cynical contributer 'Matthews' that when questioning 'closed herds', a commentator on the post below assumes all farmers are shunting cattle around illegally. The fact that without the appropriate paperwork that matches their eartags and teeth, and DNA (random checks are made) any animal thus treated is worthless. Untradeable, cannot be bred from and cannot appear at a slaughterhouse.

Frankly I find that assumption offensive. But desperation is the order of the day, when an inconvenient truth gets in the way of prejudice.

We will cover the WMN story later. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

The words 'sacred' and 'sacrifice' have similar roots but can result in completely different outcomes when applied to cattle infected with TB. The 63 slaughtered so far on this farm clearly belong to the latter category. 'Pointless sacrifice'would be more apt when the stripey sacred cows, the other half of the problem, are left to re-infect the remaining cattle.Orwell was right - some animals are more equal than others.
Incidentally, one other advantage of turning the farm into a religious establishment is the exemption from Council Tax.

Matthew said...

Thankyou Anon 12.22
Tb doesn't differentiate between religions or species, when it attacks. Politicians do.

Other comments have observed that 'treatment' whatever that may mean, for bovines with Tb is illegal. Presumably because the class of antibiotics used is not only long and with nasty side effects, but of a very small class reserved for human beings to limit our antibiotic resistance.

FWi have a poll on this subject. About 90 percent agree with this board that as a Reactor, the bullock should go.
Love the bit re Council Tax. As we said, a can of worms for short term gain.